Updated on 19 September 2012
Pharma and medical devices companies face many grave challenges. Discovery & development is just the first one. Negotiating the complex regulatory field in various geographies to take its product to the market comes next. Then follows, programs for reaching out to the patients and taking on the competition. Lawsuits on patents are de rigeur. And right through all of this, these companies need to adhere to the highest standards of ethics. Even one misstep can sound the death knell for their product and haunt the company right through its existence.
In this landscape, enters social media. Here millions of past, present and future patients of these companies are connecting and discussing everything under the sun - including the efficacy of various drugs, giving and receiving recommendations.
Not harnessing this patient pool appropriately is a folly. However, navigating social media space is overwhelming even for pharma companies known for sifting through large volumes of data as a basic business requirement. What's worse is: the lack of FDA guidance on this.
So, what are pharma and medical devices companies doing about it?
Well, largely, they have been avoiding social media because of lack of clear guidance on it from FDA. It was only recently when reports about Sanofi, leveraging its social media community on diabetes, started doing rounds that the industry took cognizance of utilizing social media as a marketing platform.